Cellulite treatment: a comprehensive literature review

J Cosmet Dermatol. 2015 Sep;14(3):224-40. doi: 10.1111/jocd.12154. Epub 2015 Jul 6.


An effective and long-term treatment of cellulite has not been well established. To our knowledge, no review has analyzed the whole range of treatments for this condition. We conducted a review of in vivo studies on humans adopting the key words "cellulite" and "treatment." The studies were included according to eligibility criteria. We performed an analysis to estimate the overall effect of cellulite treatments from clinical studies. Medline library was screened up to December 2014 to identify eligible studies. We included 73 original studies in the present review. All of them were clinical studies, in most of them, only women were recruited. Above the studies searched up, 66 tested the effectiveness of an exclusive treatment performed without the association to other procedures: 11 topical agents, 10 shock-wave therapy, 10 radio frequency, eight laser therapy, five oral therapy, four manual massage therapy, three carbon dioxide therapy, two compressive therapy, two infrared therapy, one dermabrasion, and 11 devices that use an association of multiple treatments. Seven papers tested a combination of two or more treatments. The mean difference of clinical morphologic features and ultrastructural changes between the treated group and the controlled showed significant heterogeneity between studies. It is still difficult to indicate an exclusive and effective single treatment for this condition. Our analysis purposed to obtain a complete overview of the available treatments in cellulite reduction.

Keywords: cellulite; elasticity; fatty tissue.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adipose Tissue* / anatomy & histology
  • Adipose Tissue* / ultrastructure
  • Administration, Cutaneous
  • Buttocks
  • Compression Bandages
  • Cosmetic Techniques*
  • Dermabrasion
  • Dermatologic Agents / therapeutic use
  • Female
  • High-Energy Shock Waves / therapeutic use
  • Humans
  • Low-Level Light Therapy
  • Massage
  • Thigh


  • Dermatologic Agents